An Open Letter to J. Christian Adams, the Black Panthers' Nemesis & My Law School Classmate

To: J. Christian Adams, J.D., Univ. of South Carolina Law School '93 / Virginia
Fr: Donnie Fowler, J.D., Univ. of South Carolina Law School '93 / California
Re: Congrats on Achieving Whistle Blower Status

Dear Chris -

As a law school classmate and friend from way back, what a jolt to see your name appear in lights over the last few days as you accuse President Obama and his Justice Department, where you began work as a conservative legal activist in the Bush Administration, of ignoring their duty to protect all Americans from voting rights violations.

In your Pajama Media blog, you wrote, "The dismissal of the voter intimidation lawsuit against armed New Black Panthers in Philadelphia is the most prominent example of this hostility toward race-neutral enforcement of civil rights laws." You've also become a darling of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and others in the dark corners of the conservative enlightenment.

It strikes me that your commitment to the 1965 Voting Rights Act is both laudatory and a bit surprising. I know you from our three years in school together as a strong advocate of states rights, limited federal power, and judicial restraint. Conservatives in the 1960s (when the Voting Rights Act was passed over their strong objections) and many conservatives today take philosophical and political umbrage at the Act's strong federal-over-state mandate and at the Act's gift of power to the federal courts to "interfere" in local politics.

Of course, I know that you and I both agree that voting discrimination and intimidation is wrong -- no matter who initiates it and no matter who is punished by it. I also know that you and I could go round making charge and counter-charge of bad acting by Republicans and Democrats. That's pointless in a blog like this because your fellow travelers wouldn't believe me and my fellow travelers wouldn't believe you.

The other thing that I you and I can agree on is that you are a committed, partisan conservative who does not come to this "whistle blower" attack on President Obama with clean hands. As a founder of the Univ. of South Carolina Law School's Federalist Society (the most important legal group for conservative judicial activism) and as a committed supporter of Pat Buchanan's presidential campaigns, it makes complete sense that you have a bone to pick with the Democratic majority in Washington.

So, my friend, congratulations on lighting a fire for your cause in this hyper-partisan time and becoming the hero of the day for an aggrieved conservative movement -- a movement which was known in William F. Buckley's day for advocating for a strong, conservative future rather than whinily trading in their beer & whiskey for weak tea and sad sack complaints of powerlessness.

All the Best,